Activation of transgenic estrogen receptor-beta by selected phytoestrogens in a stably transduced rat serotonergic cell line.
ABSTRACT Many flavonoids, a major group of phenolic plant-derived secondary metabolites, are known to possess estrogen-like bioactivities. However, little is known about their estrogenic properties in the central nervous system due to the lack of suitable cellular models expressing sufficient amounts of functional estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta). To overcome this deficit, we have created a cellular model, which is serotonergic in origin, to study properties of estrogenic substances by stably transducing RN46A-B14 cells derived from raphe nuclei region of the rat brain with a lentiviral vector encoding a human ERbeta. We clearly showed that the transgenic human ERbeta is a spontaneously expressed and a functional receptor. We have further assessed the estrogenicity of three different isoflavones and four different naringenin-type flavanones in this cell line utilizing a luciferase reporter gene assay. Genistein (GEN), Daidzein (DAI), Equol (EQ), Naringenin (NAR) and 8-prenylnaringenin (8-PN) showed strong estrogenic activity in a concentration-dependent manner as compared to 7-(O-prenyl)naringenin-4'-acetate (7-O-PN) which was only slightly estrogenic and 6-(1,1-dimethylallyl)naringenin (6-DMAN) that neither showed estrogenic nor anti-estrogenic activity in our model. All observed effects could be antagonized by the anti-estrogen fulvestrant. Moreover, co-treatment of cells with 17beta-estradiol (E2) and either GEN or DAI showed a slight additive effect as compared to EQ. On the other hand, 8-PN in addition to 7-O-PN, but not NAR and 6-DMAN, were able to slightly antagonize the responses triggered by E2. Our newly established cellular model may prove to be a useful tool in explicating basic physiological properties of ERbeta in the brain and may help unravel molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in serotonergic mood regulation by estrogen or potential plant-derived secondary metabolites.